Saturday, February 11, 2006

Another great quote

It's a good day for quotes, apparently. This one's old hat to a number of people in the writing industry, but it's still lovely. (And if you're not familiar with Edward Tufte, go look him up.)
Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.
~Edward Tufte


The new house news, bowling balls, and the neat quote du jour

It's Saturday afternoon.  I went out to a event last night--playing Texas Hold'em with other local folks.  We'll be doing some other things locally as time permits so we can keep expanding our social circle here in Eugene. 

The Babe and I went out for a little bit this morning.  We had heard that the stairs were going in on the "Kingsley" style house (that's the one we're getting) in the other lot, so we could see what upstairs looked like.  There were workers there, so we couldn't go in, but we were able to see on a drive-by that the stairs weren't finished: only the sides with the notches for the risers had been placed at this point.  It'll doubtless be in later today or very shortly thereafter, so we'll see the upstairs soon enough.

The dormer's also been put on the front of the house (where my office is going to go).  I was a little apprehensive of the deep slant to the room's wall (which is up against the pitch of the roof there), but the Babe reminded me that the floor area on my office is 10' x 20', so I should have enough room.  I can put the couch there against the window as one possibility--that'd be nice.  It may make putting the treadmill in the office a bit problematic, but we'll see.  I can almost certainly put the exercycle there so I can do the thing I used to do of exercycling while working on the computer (which is tres geeky, but really fun). 

Groundbreaking on our house should be happening shortly, the builder says.  You'll be seeing lots o' pix when this happens, you can count on it. 

After driving by the house, we went over to the bowling alley.  I'd gotten two bowling balls through Freecycle, one for Susan and one for the Babe.  We'd dropped them off last week to have the one for Susan engraved with her name ("Sooz") and the ball for the Babe plugged and patched (there were a few dings) and then drilled for her hand.  We got to watch today while Forrest, the proprietor, engraved her name and then rubbed it with white wax crayon to make the letters stand out.  We then looked at the other ball for the Babe, a nice 12-pounder with a blue sparkly finish.  The big ding had been plugged, bless 'im, but there was still a small ding in the ball.  It wasn't worth patching, Forrest said, as it was going to be on the side where it wouldn't affect the rolling at all for a right-handed bowler, but it did spoil the look having the ding in it and the Babe looked disappointed.  "Not to worry," I said, "I'll be glad to take this ball and we'll get you another one."  "Yes," Forrest said, "we could plug and patch every little ding but a new ball only costs $62 so you'd spend more than a new ball fairly quickly."  Our ears perked up: only $62 for a new ball?  Which balls were $62, we asked?  Apparently, a whole row of very colorful balls on the counter.  Well, heyyyyyyyyyy! 

"You want a new ball, sweetie?"  The Babe had never had a new bowling ball and we looked over the ones out there.  Forrest said there were more balls, too, and showed us several selections in the catalogs.  He also showed us the more expensive balls and gave us a quick course on how bowling balls work with the different finishes on them.  (All this while dealing with a very busy Saturday mid-day crowd.)  After some selection, the Babe selected a nice swirly "Magenta Sky" 12-pound ball from Columbia in their White Dot line, like this one:

Magenta Sky bowling ball from Columbia

Well, I like the blue sparkly ball okay, but Forrest asked if it was heavy enough for me, pointing out that you want to use the heaviest ball you're comfortable with, as you're hitting 36 pounds of pins.  I don't know if that's heavy enough but I was feeling a bit disappointed, as I was going to be spending more than half the price of a new ball on a used ball.  Not to worry, Forrest said, if I wanted to buy a new ball, he'd charge me only $10 for the plugging they'd done so far and then we'd be square.  Hey, now, that's something!  So I told him to hang on to the ball (which we'd measured me for at that point) and then the next time I came in, I'd try out different weights (he recommends a 14- or 15-pound ball) and see if I wanted something heavier.  I may well be able to handle a 14-pound ball okay, and if so, I'll buy a new ball for me, too.  MY problem is figuring out what color to get.  At that price, I'm partial to another of the Columbia's that we saw in the catalog, the "Blue Pearl."

Columbia White Dot "Blue Pearl" bowling ball

Having said that, I'm not completely sold on the color of this one.  And Forrest points out that you should really like the color of the ball you're using.  (I agree with that--why buy a ball you don't like, after all?)  The bowling ball that I'm leaning towards is a little more expensive, but much more colorful and it's something I like a lot more:

Columbia Scout Reactive Blue/Gold Pearl

I'm going to think about it and, in the meantime, I'll try out different weights to see what I want to get. 

Finally, here's a lovely quote that I ran into:
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. ~ Galileo Galilei


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What a pest!

I'm downloading all the files for my website to a holding directory on my hard disk.  I'll then upload them to the new hosting service so that they're ready to rock-and-roll.  Meanwhile, I'm trying to get all the passwords for my various domains so I can move them, which is a pain in itself.  I oughta send the ISP a bill for fees incurred for breach of contract. 


Roy Blount, Jr.

Roy Blount, Jr. (star of all sorts of things like Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me, Prairie Home Companion, and many others) wrote two small books of very light verse almost 20 years ago: Soupsongs and Webster's Ark.  These books are combined into one small volume that you flip over to read the second book.  I've heard him read some of his poems and he's got a fine, deep, mellifluous voice dripping with Southern accent that makes the poems come off the page and dance around in one's forebrain.  But even without the layer of auditory pleasure that his voice adds, I'd like to quote two of my favorites from these books to persuade you that you, too, should go buy this fine collection of silliness:

From Webster's Ark:
The Dugong

Has tusks in the male
And a bilobate tail
And appears in the following song:
"Camptown Racetrack five miles long,
Dugong, dugong."

From Soupsongs:
Chicken Medley

How sweet it is to kiss the hand which
Holds a chicken salad sandwich.

Wonder product, chicken skin!
Tans while holding moisture in.

So often, here's the taste report of
Epicures: "Like chicken, sort of."

Ever wonder who the dickens
Joined the comic and schmaltz in chickens?

Nothing cuts a broader swath
Through the blues than chicken broth.

You know who's my fondest dream?
You, suffused with chicken steam.
I mean, how can you not be inspired by an Ode to Grits that includes the couplet:
Grits at taps, grits at reveille.
I am into grits real heavily.
Go get it. It's fun.

Share/Bookmark & all but dead

I've been with as my ISP since 1995.  They used to be a small, well-run Seattle-area company that took care of its users.  About 2000, got sold to a Tucson-based company,, and service took a fair hit for a while.  The small, well-run feeling got lost for a couple years and the level of information that the users were able to get dropped substantially.  But it still worked, they recovered, and I stuck with them. 

This past summer, (and got sold to/merged with and things went to hell.  They dumped a working spam program for something with an interface from the late 80s that doesn't work very well.  Email started showing up late or not at all.  Hold times started getting longer... by a factor of 3-4x.  They put a marketing director in charge of tech support.  The parent company, MobilePro, started playing ads for their "Close Call" service, trying to peddle us long distance service and mobile phones with a promise of "great" customer service (while we sat 8, 10, 12 minutes on hold we hadn't ever before).  And we're starting to see turnover in tech support.  I keep thinking "And I'm paying for this, right?" Actually, we used to pay a premium for good service because we used to get it; never mind that there were cheaper alternatives.  At this point, is a company with a great future behind it. 

I've signed up with to shift my domains and email to a new, reliable provider.  It'll take a few weeks to get all this straightened out and I hope that I don't lose email in the switchover.  And the new owners at can go do something to themselves that's biologically unlikely but exactly what they deserve.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Waiting for the Super Bowl

We sang at church this am, then just got in from shopping for chips and dip for the Super Bowl.  Go Seahawks!